September 26, 2009

Yunnan Sourcing Tasting ( Epsilon ) = Ban Zhang

Epsilon was the tea that saved the day for me, I was beginning to think that none of these teas are really wowing me, some are interesting and fun but nothing to write home about. Epsilon stands head and shoulders above the rest, as far as my tastes are concerned. The dry leaf is a multitude of autumnal colors, greens, browns, rusty reds and an abundance of grey / blue buds. There,s lots of depth in the cakes aroma, earthy and beany with rich notes of tobacco and leather. Perfect compression makes for such effortless coaxing of these long beautiful leaves from the cake. Ah, I love that crispy sound. Nine grams of leaf are scooped into the yixing, a quick rinse and a steam bath in the drained yixing makes for perfectly primed leaf. From the first pot the flavor palate has been established. Sitting on top of a foundation of malted grain and rich leather and tobacco is a delicious blend of long beans and chestnut. The sweetness and bitterness are in perfect harmony and in sinc with each other. On about the fourth infusion the flavors have opened up nicely and I see that the tea is so full and rich that I start to back peddle and slightly shorten the infusion times. It makes for a great session when you find a tea that you have to hold back, it,s usually the other way around. I find that this tea doesn't really need pushing until sometime around the eighth pot. Brews a rich yellow cup with just a tinge of amber starting to show. Clarity is good but not great, cant have everything I guess. Easily ten to fifteen pots before it calls it a day. The Ban Zhang is one of the more expensive cakes but it,s money well spent. This tasting turned out to be a lot of fun and educational. It,s interesting to read other peoples take on these teas. All of the teas in this tasting are excellent quality and each has there own individuality. Again thanks goes to Hobbes and Scott for making this tasting happen. It,s fun for all of us to be on the same page and drinking the same tea and discussing them. Hope we can do this again sometime but until then everybody enjoy your tea and support your tea vendors, without them where would we be?
P.S. Ive no idea if the cake in the top pic is right side up or not.


  1. Grains, beans, nuts. Ah, now that's the kind of Puerh I could go for. It all appeals to a vegetarian like me. Those foodie flavors can be quite refreshing in Puerh while other teas like Oolong don't cover such a broad range but are limited to fruity or flowery. --Teaternity

  2. This tea is truly delicious. The weird thing about puerh is the wide range of flavors and aromas all from the same tea. Ive pretty much burned out on oolongs for the time being. Whats more? Puerh doesn't loose flavor with age, it gets better. What more could you ask for?